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How will Italy’s Friday public transport strike affect travel?

Italian public transport workers’ unions have called an eight-hour strike for Friday, September 16th. Here’s a look at when and where disruption is likely.

How will Italy’s Friday public transport strike affect travel?
Bus, metro and rail passengers may face disruption to services in Rome, Venice, Milan and other Italian cities on Friday. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO/AFP

Disruption to many local transport services is expected on Friday after Italian trade unions confirmed transport staff will strike over safety fears following a series of physical assaults on public transport staff in recent weeks.

The timing and severity of disruption to public transport services is expected to vary by city and transport company.

Here’s a look at what’s expected so far:

The strike is set to affect the entire Italian public transport sector, according to news reports on Thursday, as staff at local public transport companies as well as those working for some national operators will stop work for at least part of the day on Friday.

Under Italian law, some services must always be guaranteed to run at peak hours on weekdays, meaning the disruption caused by strike action is usually limited.

The protected timeslots are usually from the start of the service until 8.45am and then from 4pm to 6 or 7pm, though the exact timeframes again vary by city.

Buses, trams and metro in Milan will be affected by the strike between 8.45am and 3pm, said the city’s public transport provider ATM.

All public transport services in Rome, including buses and metro trains, will stop between 8.30am and 4.30pm, according to local news reports.

In Venice, staff from the ACTV public transport company plan to participate in the strike between 4pm and midnight, with a “minimum number” of services guaranteed to run between 4.30 and 7.30pm.

In Naples, public transport staff plan to strike between 9am and 5pm, affecting all services including buses and metro, according to reports.

Staff at northern regional rail operator Trenord are also expected to strike for around six hours, between 9am and 3pm.

Reports said the strike will not affect national rail operator Trenitalia, which runs many of Italy’s local and intercity services as well as high-speed ‘Frecce’ trains.

Passengers are always advised to check the status of their journey with their public transport operator before setting off. 

In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation or a refund should a scheduled trip be significantly delayed or cancelled due to the strikes.

Why are public transport staff striking?

As with last Friday’s rail strike, unions are again demanding improved security for drivers and inspectors at work following a series of violent incidents.

There have been at least 17 reports of attacks on public transport staff in Italy over the past three months, most recently including an incident in which a passenger headbutted a member of staff at a metro station in Milan after climbing over the turnstiles.

At the end of last month, in the province of Pavia (Lombardy), a bus driver was hospitalised after being assaulted by a passenger who had been caught smoking on board.  

More recently, another bus driver, this time near Arezzo (Tuscany), was spat at after asking a passenger to put a muzzle on their dog.

“It is becoming normal to read news about a driver or a station attendant being beaten, amid the indifference of companies and institutions,” read the strike announcement from unions on Tuesday.

Unions slammed an “intolerable” failure of companies to protect staff from assault, saying further strikes could be expected if their demands for improved security were not met.

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STRIKES

What to expect from Friday’s strikes in Italy

Travellers have been warned to expect more disruption from strikes on Friday, November 11th. From trains to planes and local public transport, here's how services will be affected.

What to expect from Friday’s strikes in Italy

Travellers are once again expected to face strike disruption affecting travel to, from and across Italy on Friday.

The new round of demonstrations, which threaten to replicate last month’s ‘venerdì nero’ (black Friday), include a 24-hour strike from Vueling staff.

READ ALSO: The strikes set to cause travel disruption in Italy in November

Public tranport strikes will also affect commuters in several Italian cities, though the hours and services affected will vary across the country.

Here’s the latest info on how the planned strikes will impact travel.

Flights

As previously reported by The Local, ground and cabin staff from Spanish airline company Vueling will take part in a 24-hour strike.

At the time of writing, no other carriers appear to be involved in the strike.

Vueling hasn’t confirmed how flights will be affected, but delays or cancellations can’t be ruled out.

Vueling plane

Staff from Spanish airline Vueling will take part in a 24-hour strike over job security and holiday pay agreements. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

According to the latest media reports, the Spanish carrier will guarantee a number of “minimum services” throughout the day but neither Vueling nor ENAC, Italy’s air traffic authority, have provided further details.

That said, in the event of strikes, flights from 7am to 10am and from 6pm to 9pm are usually guaranteed to operate in Italy.

Friday’s strike will be the third demonstration in little over a month for Italy-based Vueling personnel, after the two previous strikes on October 1st and October 21st.

Italian unions representing Vueling staff have said that strike actions will continue until their demands – over greater job security and new agreements over holiday pay – are met.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

As in previous strikes, those meant to be travelling with Vueling on Friday are advised to check their flight status with the carrier before setting off.

In the event of severe delays or cancellations you might be entitled to compensation. See our guide for further details.

Trains

Local operators in several Italian regions will strike at varying times on Friday.

Train services run by Trenord around Milan, Brescia, Como and surrounding areas will be affected on Friday morning from 9.01am until 1pm, including Milan airport links. See full details here.

In Piedmont Ferrovienord services will be interrupted between 9am and 1pm.

In the southern region of Puglia, Ferrovie Sud Est will join the strike from 5pm-9pm.

Public transport

Aside from the Vueling staff strike, local public transport staff from all over the country are expected to take part in a four-hour national strike called by Italian union USB (Unione Sindacale di Base) earlier this week. 

The strike’s start and end times will vary from region to region or, in some cases, from city to city. 

In Milan, staff from public transport operator ATM will strike from 8.45am to 12.45pm, with significant disruption expected for both underground (metro lines) and overground (buses and trams) services.

Bus station in Rome

Public transport staff from all over the country will take part in a four-hour national strike, with the start and end time varying according to the location. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Outside of these hours, services will run regularly, ATM said in a statement.

In Rome, staff from ATAC, the main public transport provider in the capital, will strike from 8.30am to 12.30pm. Further info about the strike can be found here.

In other cities, local public transport staff will strike at the following times, according to Italian media reports on Thursday:

Trieste –  6.30pm to 10.30pm

Bologna and Ferra –  11.30am to 3.30pm

Naples – 9am to 1pm

Bari and Brindisi – 8:30am to 12:30pm

Lecce – 3pm to 7pm

Trento – 11:00 to 15:00

Bolzano – 3pm to 7pm (buses only)

Varese – 3:30 to 7:30pm (Varesine buses)

Pavia – 24 hours

Livorno – 5.30pm to 9.30pm

La Spezia – 11am to 3pm

Rimini, Cesena and Forlì –5.30pm to 9pm.

Strike action in other Italian cities had not been confirmed at the time of writing.

Anyone planning to travel on public transport on Friday is advised to check the status of services in their city before setting off.

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